Good fences make good neighbors, wrote Robert Frost
quoting his neighbor. Our fence is seven feet tall,
concrete, covered in stucco, and runs the entire
length of our block. This is week four of quarantine.
Our neighbor delivered split-pea soup with large chunks
of ham, carrots cut in cheerful rounds, life-saving rafts
in otherworldly shades of moss-green found in forests.
The air filled with scent of bay leaf, reminding me
of Christmas tree pine and black pepper.
After lunch, I poke around the yard, pull a few weeds.
I want to call my mother, tell her about the world I live in—
I want her to meet my husband, see how eccentric
I’ve grown. I understand the passage of time—I do.
My parents so far beyond my reach, sixty years gone,
and now this solitary existence, this quarantine,
yet, a whole world exists just beyond our fence,
a world where sunshine never disappoints
and stars blink just for us.
received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Honolulu University. She is Editor Emeritus and founding poetry editor of Rattle. Two of her books have been entrants for the Pulitzer Prize: Firecracker Red, a powerful collection of poems set squarely in the earth; and Crossing The Double Yellow Line, a journey of sharp turns and hair-pin curves. Her work has appeared in three additional volumes: After I Fall, a collection of four Los Angeles poets; Over To You, an exchange of poems with David Widup; and 13 Los Angeles Poets, the ONTHEBUS Poets Series Number One (Bombshelter Press).
In 2013, Dr. Lee won the grand prize, “Poetry to Aid,” from Humanity Al Falah in Malaysia. Early in 2020, her collection of new and selected poems Queen of Jacks was released by Bombshelter Press. Her work has also been published in numerous literary journals, including Paterson Review, Connecticut Review, Margie, and The American Poetry Review. As a lecturer and teacher, she conducts workshops throughout the United States, and teaches privately. She was born in the year of the dragon.
Author’s website: www.stellasuelee.com